Review: Capture screen video and audio with oCam

Record onscreen audio and video with this free utility's built-in codecs.

OhSoft's oCam is a freeware screen capture utility that packs its own codecs, including hi-fi audio codecs from the open-source LAME project, for real-time recording of onscreen video and system sounds. As with similar tools, oCam also takes screenshots, including full-screen, windows, or selected areas. It captures cursor motion and other onscreen activity, too, and it supports large recordings of up to 4GB. Among other upgrades, the latest release of oCam, v13, adds Flash video codecs, improved scheduling of recordings, and better real-time audio encoding. It's compatible with Windows versions XP to 8, including Server 2008.

With a gadget-like user interface and separate selection window, oCam's draggable, two-part user interface is small enough to sit in a corner of your desktop yet large enough to be easy to spot when you need it. Seven buttons in a row access all of oCam's features and options: "Record," "Capture," "Resize," "Open," "Options," "Codec," and "Info." If you've ever used a screen capture tool before, nearly all of oCam's controls will be familiar, as will be the procedure: For example, to capture a section of our desktop, we dragged oCam's green-bordered, transparent selection window over the area in question and pressed "Record." The program recorded all screen activity in the selection box, which for our purposes consisted of some quick mousing. Pressing "Stop" saved the video in the format and destination we selected in the Options sheet. Likewise, pressing "Capture" took a snapshot of the selected area. The "Resize" button selects preset capture areas -- a handy feature for standardizing images.

We noted that nearly all of oCam's controls will be familiar to most users. The single (and notable) exception is the Codecs button. Pressing it calls up a menu of installed audio and video codecs, including LAME. We just had to select the codec we wanted on the menu, and oCam did the rest. Dedicated codecs mean oCam can record high-quality audio or video no matter what codecs your system or media player is using. It's definitely worth a look.

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